And now, reproduction! Fun times, right?
So my reproduction is actually pretty awesome because I don’t have just one way of reproducing- I have two. As the situation permits, I can reproduce both through conjugation and through cell division.
Conjugation is a type of bacterial reproduction in which genetic material is exchanged through direct cell-to-cell contact. This is basically the bacterial equivalent of sexual reproduction. Basically, one cell with something called a pilus attaches to a cell without one. This ‘donor’ cell sends some genetic information (this could be resistance to a disease, new abilities, or any number of other things) to the other, and then they break apart. The ‘receiver’ cell now obtains its own pilus, and both are now able to exchange genetic material with other cells.
Cell division is… well, almost exactly what it sounds like. In short, a cell makes exact copies of everything inside it (DNA and all that), then splits its main body in half, creating a perfect clone. Now there are two cells when there used to be one. Who knows how many of me are floating around out there, identical.
Sweet, so I’ve got a little bit more to tell you about my life cycle, but that can wait. Later!